This is the third part of a six-part article on how BSCs can break into the education market.

School administrators and board members don’t just want to know how a BSC takes care of its own people, however; they also want to know how a janitorial staff can handle working around kids and what it can do to keep those kids safe, healthy and in school.

Many BSCs run background checks on all of their employees before hire, but the practice becomes all the more important when those employees will be working near children.

“When we started to go after schools, my daughter was in school,” says Senecal. “And I said, ‘What would I want from an employee that was going to be in proximity to my own daughter?’”

Highlighting a background checking policy in a proposal shows that the BSC understands the significance of working near children and cares about the well-being of those kids, says Senecal.

In addition to the background check process, it’s always wise, says Lazorik, for BSCs to detail their entire employee hiring and training process. School administrators will want to know that the individuals hired are capable of handling potentially dangerous chemicals and equipment, sometimes when children are nearby.

BSCs can also demonstrate that they understand the school safety issue by stressing their high employee-retention rate.

“Obviously, for any client that’s good,” says Lazorik. “But with the schools, they don’t want a new person every week. They want to monitor control of who has access to the building, so having the same people all the time is to your advantage.”

A school’s interest in safety also encompasses student health, especially as it relates to student attendance. Schools administrators want to know that a BSC is not only making the school look clean, but also disinfecting, says Lazorik.

Experts have increasingly begun to acknowledge the role of a school’s janitorial staff in combating student illness, and thus missed school days.

Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism, with about three children likely to have asthma in a classroom of 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asthma triggers include dust mites, mold, air pollution, and illnesses, such as influenza, colds, respiratory syncytial virus and sinus infections.

According to a 2004 article by the University of Houston Center for Public Policy’s David Branham titled “The Wise Man Builds His House Upon the Rock: The Effects of Inadequate School Building Infrastructure on Student Attendance,” published in Social Science Quarterly, “The indirect measure of infrastructure, custodians per square foot, is also a strong indicator of school attendance. The data show a statistically significant negative relationship between inadequate janitorial services and student attendance. Students are more likely to miss school when individual custodians have a more burdensome workload.”

And, depending on the state, schools are given additional incentive to keep students healthy and in school.

“A handful of states — including California, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri — base their funding upon average daily attendance. In this situation, districts may take attendance more seriously because they lose money if students do not show up,” according to 2013 policy brief from Attendance Works, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Child and Family Policy Center.

IBS Direct partners with its distributors to provide disposable disinfecting wipes and other cleaning materials for use by the teachers or administrators. That way the school staff can clean up after the child if there’s no day porter on site and it can’t wait for the evening cleaning crew.

“We find they jump at it,” says O’Mahony.

And it’s not just a BSC’s ability to handle run-of-the-mill illnesses that appeals to school boards and administrators. They also want to know that a BSC can control some of the more serious viral outbreaks that have arisen, such as swine flu or whooping cough. O’Mahony recommends BSCs have a system in place for terminal cleaning.

“It’s a very strong selling point,” he says.

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